Discussion Questions for Rebecca CHs 18-21

Discussion Questions for Group 9: MG, AK, and BU

1. At the end of chapter 19, Maxim admits that “There was never an accident. Rebecca was not drowned at all. I killed her. I shot Rebecca in the cottage in the cove…It’s Rebecca lying there dead on the cabin floor. Will you look into my eyes and tell me that you love me now?” (270).

How did your attitude towards Maxim change after reading this, if at all? If you were in the narrator’s place, how might you have reacted?

2. On page 290, the narrator states that, “Our happiness had not come too late. I was not young anymore. I was not shy. I was not afraid. I would fight for Maxim. I would lie and perjure and swear, I would blaspheme and pray. Rebecca had not won. Rebecca had lost.”

Why do you think the narrator is so relieved and excited after hearing such a tragic and surprising story? Is it right for her to stand behind Maxim and support him even though he took his ex-wife’s life? Why or why not?

This entry was posted in Character Analysis, Daphne Du Maurier, Marriage, Point of Ritual Death, Rebecca, Recognition, relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Discussion Questions for Rebecca CHs 18-21

  1. MP says:

    In response to question number two I believe the narrator can only focus on the fact that Maxim did not love Rebecca. Since the beginning she compared herself to his past love, his perfect first wife and when she finds that it is all a shame she feels a huge relief. While she decides to fight for him and has now overcome her shyness, for the man who loves her, I find it quite strange. I think it’s unrealistic that any woman would not care or be shocked that her husband has killed someone before, much less his wife. Maxim is the only one who paints a negative picture of Rebecca, and for all we know he could simply be spinning the facts. The narrator is blinded by love, and making a mistake by supporting her criminal husband.

  2. KG says:

    In response to question 1, my attitude towards Maxim has changed a bit. Before, there was something shady about him and that maybe he was holding something back like a secret. Now, after he reveals his big secret to the narrator, I can understand more why he acts the way he does. As for the narrator, I think Maxim’s revelation that he killed Rebecca causes everything to fall into place for her. She now understands why Maxim is the way he is and I think it also gives her some closure about the late Rebecca. Also, now that Maxim has told her he loves her, she gains some confidence and starts asserting herself around Manderley, which signifies a definite change for her.

    • AC says:

      I agree with everything Kelly says here. The way Maxim acts all the time like he is missing Rebecca, the way he seems like he is still in mourning, is in fact the way he is coping with this secret. He never speaks of Rebecca to the narrator because he has his own ghost and now that it has surfaced he can be open with the narrator.

  3. Reema Taneja says:

    In response to question 1, my views of Maxim changed a little, but not too much. I got a feeling that there was something about Rebecca that people didn’t know about because the retarded man’s plea for the narrator to not send him to an asylum. I was shocked to find out that Maxim was the one who killed her, but after reading about Maxim’s feelings towards Rebecca and her true personality, I was not surprised in his decisions. The fact that he has always been so quiet and secretive makes a lot more sense now. It is true that once I read this part, I interpreted everything I read thus far in a different and almost opposite way.

    In response to question 2, the narrator has finally got her cut; there’s no more Rebecca standing in the way of her relationship with Maxim. She is relieved because Maxim’s negative feelings towards Rebecca eliminate the insecurities she had the whole time throughout the novel. She was always concerned that Maxim would never love her the way he “loved” Rebecca. Now that she knows that Maxim despised Rebecca, she gains confidence to run Manderley the way she wants to. I think that she’s so wrapped up in finally receiving love and trust from Maxim that she looks past the fact that he murdered his ex-wife. She has been longing to be a part of Maxim’s life, and she feels as though the only way to stay with him is to support him.

  4. BW says:

    About question 1, my opinion changes about Max i feel as though he has had this horrible feelings built up in him and finally has someone that he can trust. i didnt expect this to come out of the book and it completely changed the way that i looked at him. i now feel like he really did love the narrator

  5. LB says:

    In response to question 2, the narrator obviously feels excited and relieved that Maxim never loved Rebecca. Since the beginning when she first stepped into Manderley, she was continually being compared to Rebecca. She always felt that she might not gain Maxim’s complete love because she felt that he still might feel something for Rebecca and her fear was confirmed during the fancy dress ball and the anger that Maxim showed towards her. But now that she knows that he never loved Rebecca, she feels that she should support him so that they can be happy together and achieve the happiness that Maxim never gained with Rebecca.

  6. BJ says:

    My reaction towards Maxim of course changed some. I feel like it opened his character up more and allowed both the Narrator and reader to see inside Maxim’s head some. Realizing how much he disliked Rebecca and was irritated with her allows the Narrator to come into the picture with a new attitude, leaving the faulty fantasy she had created in her head behind. I almost like Maxim’s character more because now we can see him as a person not just a shady figure that barely talks to his second wife. I am happy for the Narrator although it is a creepy situation. If I was in her situation I probably would of left a long time before this whole confession occurred, but had I stayed I would of wanted to go get a breath of fresh air because I wouldn’t believe what I was being told. I couldn’t say whether or not I would just run away and leave or if I would try to works through things and see where it all lead. Of course the Narrator is love struck and will stand behind Maxim, whereas a majority of women would probably think ‘woah what are you telling me? You killed your wife?!’ but no one really knows what they would do until they are put into that situation. I think the Narrator feels a sense of triumph over the prized Rebecca because she had Maxim all along, whereas for the first half of the book she believed he just used her like Ms. Van Hopper had said before they left to be married. The Narrator is such a shy, vulnerable young girl that she is blinded by Maxim’s love and his confession to her, I don’t think it would of mattered if he killed more than just Rebecca. She would most likely stand by him through thick and thin.

  7. HC says:

    I was very stunned when Maxim said that he was the one who killed Rebecca, but my thought towards Maxim had changed whole lot. I always thought Maxim hated Rebecca, and the reason he killed Rebecca was because she had another person’s baby. Not that I agree with what Maxim did. Still, My reaction if I were the narrator would be the opposite of the book. I would be so disappointed with Maxim, but try to understand why he did such a thing. Only because the narrator loves him so much, all this nonsense acts of the narrator explains.

    For the second question, It might have been always a barrier to the narrator for herself being the second wife, and second everything in all of Maxim’s life. Therefore, it is natural for her to feel always defensive and hatred toward Rebecca because the narrator is so crazy about Maxim. However, if she was a normal person, she would not stand up for Maxim himself. For Maxim, she should have taught him what he did wrong. However, since the narrator is so obsessed with Maxim and trying to find anything she can do to satisfy Maxim, she surely would stand up for his situation

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